US President Joe Biden hosted Reuven Rivlin at the White House on Monday as the latter made his last foreign trip as head of the State of Israel, telling him that Iran would never get a nuclear weapon “on his watch.”
“What I can tell you is that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon in my custody,” Biden said.
The two were scheduled to have a broad discussion about US efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s formation of a new government.
The meeting took place just weeks after Naftali Bennett replaced Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister, ending his 12-year rule. US officials were reportedly working on arranging a meeting between Biden and Bennett in the coming weeks.
In a meeting with Rivlin on Monday, Biden said he looks forward to meeting new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett soon.
Israel and Arab states have expressed concern about US efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal over concerns that it could eventually allow Tehran to acquire atomic weapons.
Biden told Rivlin that the United States and Israel share the same values of democracy and that U.S. support for Israel is “clothed in iron.”
The two leaders are also expected to discuss Israel’s 11-day war on Gaza last month. The United States has pledged to resupply Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which has protected Israeli civilians from more than 4,000 rockets fired from Gaza during last month’s conflict.
Rivlin is also scheduled to meet with United Nations officials in New York and congressional lawmakers in Washington.
While meeting with representatives of the Jewish community in New York on Sunday, Rivlin said he understands that there may be differences between him and Biden, but they also share similar views for example on the need to fight anti-Semitism.
We must fight anti-Semitism in all its forms and use all the tools at our disposal. I know President Biden and his administration are committed to fighting this growing hatred, and I promise that the State of Israel will always stand at the vanguard against anti-Semitism, in the United States and around the world,” Rivlin said.
Rivlin is due to leave office on July 7 after seven years in office, with Jewish Agency chief and former Labor Party leader Isaac Herzog taking over as president.